BRYAN VS. MUSTAFA…
Recap: The show began with Daniel Bryan coming to the ring for a match with Mustafa Ali. He apologized for calling the people sheep last week, as it was offensive to sheep. He said the people are more like parasites. Since the Yes Movement is dead, like any other parasite, the people have moved on to a new host, AJ Styles.
Mustafa Ali then came down the ramp. Bryan said he was an incredible performer, and reminded him of himself. He tried to give Mustafa advice, saying they should skip their scheduled match, as the people didn’t deserve it. Mustafa wondered aloud what had happened to Bryan, and said he wanted a fight.
Bryan responded by asking what kind of car Ali drove. When he said an SUV, Bryan stated that as such a small man, he didn’t need one. Ali started an explanation about having a wife and two kids, but Bryan slapped him. Ali made a comeback, leading to a commercial.
The match began after the break. After a missed 054 by Ali, Bryan was able to lock in the heel hook for the win. After the match, Bryan stomped Ali’s head repeatedly and put him into another heel hook.
Evaluation: Having 205 Live guys compete against main roster guys in select spots, as has been done for a couple weeks now, is a smart idea. It’s hard to get the fans to care about a match where they know neither competitor (which would be the case if a match with two competitors from 205 Live were given TV airtime), but they will care about a match with Daniel Bryan. When the fans start out caring about the match, they’re more likely to pay more attention and possibly become interested in the 205 Live wrestler.
Bryan’s promo was nothing new as compared to last week, but was solid.
Forecast: Bryan should retain on Sunday.
MORE MIZ & SHANE…
Recap: Near the bottom of the first hour, Miz was in the ring with the World Cup trophy for a promo. He said that despite it being Shane’s week in their custody agreement, he wouldn’t hand over the trophy until Shane came to the ring. When Shane didn’t come, Miz said he didn’t want to beg. When Shane still didn’t come, Miz began to beg.
Shane came to the ring, asking if Miz was okay. He said Miz’s shtick with the trophy was beginning to get weird. Miz lamented that Shane didn’t answer any of his calls or texts. He said that they’re meant to be together as a tag team. Miz then called out a referee, along with an opposing local talent tag team, the Vegas Boys. They seemed to have a male revue gimmick, although neither had the body for it.
The Vegas Boys jumped Shane from behind, forcing him to fight. Without ever tagging in Miz, Shane was victorious with a triangle.
Later backstage, Paige berated the referee for refereeing an unsanctioned match. He protested that Miz informed him that Paige had approved the matchup. The Vegas Boys then approached Paige with invoices, stating that Miz had told them she approved $5000 payments for their performance. She tore up their invoices and threw them out.
In another backstage segment, Shane yelled at the Miz for hiring the Vegas Boys and tricking the referee. Miz admitted that he crossed a line, but plead that he did it because before teaming with Shane, he was never considered best in the world. He put out a hand for Shane to shake, but Shane declined.
Evaluation: I have no idea where this is supposed to be going. Shane was clearly set up to be cheered most of the night until the backstage segment where he refused to shake Miz’s hand.
I’m not sure if it was intentional, but Paige was a heel tonight. The fans vocally booed her refusal to pay the local independent talent. If that reaction wasn’t intentional, the writing was terrible as anyone could predict the fans would want to see independent wrestlers get paid.
Forecast: I really hope this all hasn’t been a convoluted way to make Paige a heel authority figure matched up against Shane. I’m 90% sure that isn’t the case, but I can’t fully rule it out.
Recap: Asuka, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte Flair all had backstage promos throughout the night. None particularly stood out, but all were solid. Most notable was that Asuka toned down the goofiness and cut her promo in a more straightforward style.
Asuka took on Charlotte Flair in the main event, which was given the entire final half hour of the show. At the end of a long and competitive match, Charlotte was disqualified for beating Asuka with a kendo stick. Charlotte then attacked Becky (who had been at ringside observing the match). Becky got the upper hand and began to beat Charlotte with the kendo stick. Asuka then threw Becky over the announce table and beat both her and Charlotte with the kendo stick, standing victorious as the show went off the air.
Evaluation: Since Asuka is very likely to take the pin on Sunday, having her look strong tonight was important.
Forecast: Becky pins Asuka. This allows Charlotte to cut promos between now and WrestleMania about how Becky didn’t pin her in their title rematch, setting up a singles match for the title at WrestleMania.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: TOP 3 DEVELOPMENTS – SMACKDOWN 12/4: Triple Tension, New Daniel Bryan, Joe Goes There